Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mystery Men

I printed Mystery Men out and have been reading through it. It seems like an interesting game, though it's a bit too tied to class and level D&D for me. I was wondering if the experience requirements for powers had been playtested. As is, a level 1 superhero (50,000 XP) will be lucky to have 3 powers, unless he only takes super stats and a travel power. Many of the powers listed are extremely expensive, and some seem too expensive for what they do. Have any of you played this? Maybe I'm just expecting supers to be more powerful than the author is thinking.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Frog God Games pdf's for Swords & Wizardry


This includes all of the lairs of the Tome of Horrors S&W version, as well as monsters by terrain and a preview of their Adventure Design book. This is a great resource for any DM. I highly recommend downloading these! Thanks Frog Gods!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stan Lee Media sues film company, says it owns Conan


Stan Lee Media, Inc., a company founded by comic book legend Stan Lee, wants a judge to rule that it is still the rightful owner of the character Conan the Barbarian. In a lawsuit filed Aug. 19 in federal court in L.A. and obtained by EW, SLMI is demanding 100 percent of the film’s proceeds. The company claims its bankruptcy in 2001 would have prevented anyone from taking the rights to the Conan character away. In the suit, Stan Lee Media, Inc. claims the company was betrayed by a former lawyer who made an illegal deal to transfer the rights to another company that would later green-light this summer’s Conan movie. The poorly reviewed remake earned $10 million on its opening weekend, barely beating the debut of the original Conan the Barbarian in 1982."


Fucking corporations. You didn't invent the character, and you deserve no money for him.

Note that Stan Lee is no longer involved with this company, and has even been sued by them!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Light in the dungeon

After reading the post about PC's trying to weasel out of using light sources on Planet Algol, I got to thinking about this. Usually, a mage just has continual cast on stones or his staff, so having a light doesn't really become an issue. My big thing is the radius of the light source.

Many light sources only have a 15 to 30 foot radius. If you're walking into a big cave that's 150 feet across, you'll stick out like a sore thumb to every monster there. If they have bows, you're kind of screwed. You'll just be walking along, and arrows will start pelting into your group. You'll see the arrows appear, but you won't have any idea where they are coming from. I think many DM's miss this.

The players will need to either use magic to locate enemies, have a demihuman locate the attackers, or launch torches or lighted items out around them, or they will have no idea where the attackers are located. Most dungeon adversaries can see in the dark just fine, so they don't need light sources. Because the players have torches, every monster anywhere nearby will see them coming, and will have fantastic targets.

I'd give monsters total cover until they have been located. In addition, they might even gain a bonus to hit the torchbearers, since they may as well have a giant bullseye painted on themselves.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

D&D editions: How I rate them

If the version is not listed, I have not played it. This is limited to the PHB/DMG/MM1-2 of each, as I only ran the games this way. Too many rules supplements ruin games, imo. I've been like that since I started gaming when I was 12. For example, I only used the equipment from the 2e thieves book. No prestige classes allowed in any game I ran.

#1: 2e. I played and DM'd so many games of this I had the base 3 books basically memorized. I loved the NWP system and specialized clerics and mages. The settings were amazing, as well. This was the high point of creativity of TSR, imo.

#2: 3e/3.5e. Solid rules. Too complicated, but things like ascending AC and the saving throws were major improvements over the old systems.

#3: B/X with Otus covers. The first version of D&D I ever played. I had a lot of fun with this game.

#4: BECMI. I really just added the Companion and Master sets to my B/X books.

#5: 1e. It was fun, but convoluted and had many weird limitations that are luckily now gone.

#6: 4e. Tried it, didn't care for it. We played two sessions. It felt more like the Descent boardgame than D&D. I can see why new players would like it, but it's not for me.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New BASH Wiki

I'm just posting the news for this. If you are a fan of Basic Action Super Heroes (BASH), there is a new wiki with lots of character conversions located at: . This is something that I think could really help BASH get more popular. One thing a superhero game can always use is more characters (especially villains!). Having popular supers be statted out in BASH can make many a GM's life easier.

HeroClix rock as minis

I've collected a bunch of supers HeroClix over the last month, since I've been reading a bunch of supers rpg's. Talk about perfect for Champions, Villains and Vigilantes, and any other minis-required superhero rpg. If you play either game, you really should take the time to get at least a small collection of HeroClix.

I have no intention of ever playing the HeroClix minis game, and in fact, don't even have a ruleset to learn it.

I spent around $100 on eBay and Noble Knight, and have almost every superhero I could want (some are ridiculously rare and expensive, though, like a yellow Sinestro). All these supers minis, and not one pot of paint required. I love it!

I do think it's kind of funny that DC Adventures does not require minis, and yet it has a mini for almost any DC character you can think of readily available. I suspect that the upcoming Marvel game, which uses Cortex, will also not require minis in any fashion.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

NPR's Top 100 Fantasy/SF books

As shown  HERE

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien - read it
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams - read it
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card - read it
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert - read Dune, don't care about rest
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin - read it
6. 1984, by George Orwell - read it
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury - seen the movie
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov - read it
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley - read parts of it, stopped. Didn't care for it.
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman - read it
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman - seen the movie
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan - read up through book 6, then stopped.
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell - read it
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson - read it
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore - read it
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov - read it
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein - read it
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss - have not read it
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut - read it
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley - read it, seen multiple movies of it
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick - read it, seen the movie
22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood - have not read it
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King - read it
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke - read it. Seen the movie
25. The Stand, by Stephen King - read it. Seen the miniseries (which is fantastic).
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson - read it.
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury - have not read it
28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut - have not read it. Not interested.
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman - read it.
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess - Seen the movie, want to read it.
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein - read it. Seen the movie :\
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams - seen the movie.
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey - Read it.
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein - Read it.
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller - read it. FANTASTIC BOOK!
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells - read it. seen several movies.
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne - read it. Seen several movies.
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys - have not read it.
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells - read it.
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny - have not read it. I do want to read it.
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings - read it.
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley - seen the movie. Not interested in the book.
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson - Have it. Have not read it yet.
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven - read it. FANTASTIC BOOK!
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin - have not read it. Undecided if I want to.
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien - read it. Wish it had several movies.
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White - read it.
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman - read it. And the graphic novel and TV series.
49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke - have not read it. Not interested.
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan - read it. Saw the movie.
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons - Read book 1. Good but not interested in rest of series.
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman - read it. Saw the movie.
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson - Have not read it. Not interested.
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks - read it.
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle - Have not read it.
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman - Read it.
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett - Read it. Overrated.
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson - read it.
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold - have not read it.
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett - have not read it. Not interested.
61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle - read it. FANTASTIC BOOK!
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind - Started it. Put it away. Not interesting.
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy - Saw the movie. No interest in reading it.
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke - read it. ok, not great.
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson - Saw the movies. Not interested in the book.
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist - read it.
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks - read it.
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard - read it. Hope the new movie will be good.
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb - read it. Book 1 is fantastic, others a little less so.
70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger - have not read, not interested.
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson - have not read.
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne - read it.
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore - read Icewind Dale. Salvatore should not be on this list.
74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi - have not read it.
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson - read it. FANTASTIC BOOK!
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke - have not read it.
77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey - have not read it.
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin - have not read it.
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury - read it.
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire - have not read it.
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson - have read up through book 5. FANTASTIC SERIES
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde - have not read it.
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks - have not read it.
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart - have not read it.
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson - have not read it. Not interested.
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher - have not read it.
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe - read it. FANTASTIC SERIES! Should be Top 3.
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn - have not read it. Not interested.
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan - have not read it.
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock - read it.
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury - read it.
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley - have not read it.
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge - have not read it.
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov - have not read it.
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson - have not read it. Not interested.
96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle - read it. FANTASTIC BOOK!
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis - have not read it
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville - started. quit after 3 chapters. CRAPPY BOOK
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony - have read some of them
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis - have not read it

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Imperial Invaders

After reading "Daughter of the Empire", I got this idea. The players are wandering about their Western European analogue country, and somewhere gates open. On the other side is an ancient empire of humans or elves or dwarves.

Their culture is very rigid, with castes and lots of slaves. They abhor cowardice, and will not surrender in battle. Prisoners are either made into slaves or sacrificed to their gods, depending upon their relative worth.

The invading Empire is also huge, and has many armies. It may be defeated eventually, but odds are it will at least establish a permanent fortress around the gate.

Over time, the cultures may mix. Local nobles might ally with the Empire, and marry into it. Lots of new armor and weapon styles will appear. New gods may gain influence, to the detriment of the established religions. Maybe a ziggurat will be built, with daily sacrifices to the sun god performed at it's peak.

I just figured this was a great idea. Not sure if it's been done in any established campaign settings, though.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Supers! rpg review

“Supers!” is an rpg by Simon Washbourne of Beyond Belief Games, who also wrote “Barbarians of Lemuria”. It is a rules-lite superhero game. The book is digest-sized (6” x 9”) and 118 pages long. It’s a full-color softcover, and is printed by Cubicle 7. The actual rules are 80 pages; then there are a bunch of heroes and villains in the back. The final 6 pages are all ads for Cubicle 7 and Beyond Belief Games products, which is a horrible waste of paper, in my opinion. The website is at: and the game forums are at: .

 It took maybe an hour and a half to read the rules. The feel of the game is more four-color supers and cartoon supers than gritty, Punisher or Watchmen stuff. 

The game is based on d6 dice pools. Characters are created via point buy, with different point allocations for different areas. Points can be saved up to spend on Powers, if desired. There is an option to just use start with 20D and buy what you want. This seems much easier to me.

Normals are limited to 3D in the various categories. If someone with the Normal limitation gets skills or Resistances higher than 3D, they roll all their dice and keep the 3 highest results.

All characters have four Resistances, which are kind of like hit points: Composure, Fortitude, Reaction, and Will. Each begins at 1D, and you add 5D among them as you wish, with a limit of 3D (mortal max). If any of these Resistances is dropped to 0D during combat, your character can break down crying because they failed, get knocked out, get stuck and immobilized, or maybe just terrified into surrender, depending upon which Resistance hits 0D. It’s an interesting idea.

Next up are Aptitudes. Characters start with 3D they can add in Aptitudes that they want, and automatically have 1D in all Aptitudes. Aptitudes are just broad-based skills. They cover all your standard modern superhero skill areas.

Finally, there are Powers. You have 12D to split up among them. Powers covers everything from Armor to Wizardry. They are intentionally broad-based and open to player and GM interpretation. This chapter also includes Power Complications (ex: Concentration Required) and Power Boosts (ex: Knockdown) that you can use to mold a power into a specific attack or defense. Pretty standard fare for a supers game.

Next up are Ads and Disads (advantages and disadvantages). Ads cover things like Allies and Instant Change; Disads cover stuff like Blind, Normal, and Enemies; both pretty standard supers fare. The one thing I really like about this section is that you can only get an Ad by taking a Disad. Taking Disads does not give you extra points for Powers. I really like this. I’d love to see it incorporated into other games. (There is an option to allow Disads to give points. I don't think I would allow it).

This is followed by a character creation example, which helps make sense of what is going on.

Next up is Playing the Game. This section just explains dice rolls and gives target numbers for unopposed things. It also has info for improving characters, which is that the GM should give the player 1D to add where he wants at various points, like after finishing an adventure.

The following chapter is Fighting. This involves using your powers to beat up the bad guys. I like that you can attack with your Super Speed, as long as you describe something like whirling around a guy and knocking him to the ground. The book specifically says to look for ways to allow powers to work instead of preventing them from working. I like that. 

You hurt the bad guy by rolling your power or fighting aptitude dice against his. For every multiple over his defense roll you do, he takes one damage to one of his Resistances. You can choose what Resistance takes damage, except in circumstance like a Mental attack always hurts Composure or Will; or an insult hurts Composure. It’s pretty straightforward, and should work well. 

Some combat examples are also provided, one vs. mooks and one vs. villains.

The next section is Villain Types. Mooks are easy to beat, as they have a rating equal to the number of mooks, which is used for everything. So 5 mooks have a rating of 5, which they attack and defend with. As they are defeated, their rating goes down. Henchmen are mooks with extra rating dice. Villains are briefly described by point level. Just make a character with the right amount of points and you have your villain.

Next up is Disasters. It provides hazards such as earthquakes and Fires, and lists various powers that could be used to fight them. It’s a pretty bare-bones section, but it should provide some ideas for GMs.

After that is Supersville. It is a very generic city with some plot hooks and some bad guy henchmen statted out. Examples include a supervillain who uses the mayor, a bad guy with a superhero girlfriend, etc. If you have any other supers setting available, you’ll probably just want to use it.

Then there is an adventure. It involves an alternate dimension, heroes getting set up to look like bad guys, and a big fight at the end. Also pretty generic.

The remainder of the book is sample superheroes and supervillains. They cover many of the standard types (power armor, champion, etc). I’d love to have seen this section expanded. It covers all the bases, but I can always use more villains.

The game is designed for a GM who is not afraid of making up rulings on the spot. Many descriptions are just guidelines. If you really need to have lists for everything, you won’t like this game. If you are an experienced GM who can wing it, I think the game will suit you pretty well.

The game would benefit from another editing pass by someone who is not intimately familiar with the rules. Some things are not explained well. The game is still quite good, and I recommend it to those who want to play a superhero game but don’t want to get bogged down in too many rules and rule exceptions.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

WotC may republish old edition material

"republishing old editions. cant say anything yet but there are plans." - from WotC at GenCon.

Who knows what this really means. Maybe they will just bring back the pdf's, which I'd be very happy with. Maybe they'll actually do a print version of something, which would be awesome. I find it interesting that they are even considering it, though. I suspect 4e is doing even worse than I had imagined.

What would tick me off is if they just reprint 3.5 in an effort to screw over Paizo. I wouldn't be at all surprised by it if they did, though. Supposedly, Pathfinder sales have been neck-and-neck with 4e sales, and possibly even beating 4e during some months.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

White Wolf announcements at Gen Con

Products that are in the works at White Wolf include:

Werewolf anniversary edition
Mage anniversary edition sometime after that
Werewolf and Mage conversion guides
A brand new Mummy game (no subtitle as of now)
The "missing" oMage Convention books
Some new Exalted stuff, like an updated book on the Guild and a revised Martial Arts book
A vague promise of new VtM stuff beyond just v20
Shards books in the vein of WoD: Mirrors for at least Vampire and Exalted
A Victorian setting book for Changeling: The Lost

Let's just say this is the best news I've heard out of White Wolf in years. I'll definitely be picking up the Werewolf and Mage books. I'm also really happy that the missing Convention books will be getting published. The only nWoD game that I really like is Changeling, which is a fantastic game. The nWoD Vampire is also pretty good, but the new Werewolf and Mage games suck eggs, imo. I haven't given White Wolf any money in several years. That's going to change. Probably be pretty expensive, though. :)